While buildings may provide the beating corporate hearts of the world's cities, it's the public spaces that help bring together their inhabitants as a community. In this talk, Amanda Burden explains how public spaces make cities work better.

Animal behaviorist turned city planner, Burden cites examples around New York City—from tiny pocket parks to long waterfront promenades—to explain the unexpected challenges of planning open spaces that people love. Forget barren, soulless plazas and instead think friendly parks that look barely designed—but which actually drip in painstaking yet subtle aesthetic detail. It's fascinating to hear just what efforts go into crafting public spaces. [YouTube]